EVERETT — Connor Dewar has never been fed with a silver spoon by the hockey gods.
The Pas, Manitoba native wasn’t a high Western Hockey League bantam pick and was passed over in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility before being taken by the Minnesota Wild last season. Often discounted by others because of his smaller stature, he’s always drawn high praise from his teammates and coaches for his tenacious work ethic and leadership.
Despite setting off on a tremendous start to the season in Everett, Dewar was not one of the 34 players named to Hockey Canada’s selection camp for the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
The Silvertips captain isn’t one to let disappointment from a decision out of his control set him back in the long run.
“It’s going to start when I’m at home during Christmas watching those games on TV and while I’m here, watching top players in the league that I compete with every night — and get the best of sometimes — playing in front of everyone back home,” Dewar said. “It’s an opportunity that I would have loved to have. But I just hope Canada is represented well and has success.”
Dewar’s case for inclusion at the prestigious event is strong. The 19-year-old forward is enjoying a torrid start to the season, leading the Silvertips in points (41). His 23 goals lead the Silvertips and are the third most in the WHL. Most of his production has come while playing center, a role for which he’s not naturally suited, but he’s been forced there due to the team’s dearth of true centermen. The addition of Swift Current center Max Patterson on Monday will help Dewar back onto the wing, the team hopes.
He competed at Team Canada’s summer World Junior showcase camp in Kamloops, British Columbia from July 28 to Aug. 4 and recorded two assists for Team WHL in the two-game Canada vs. Russia series, an event designed partly to choose rosters for the World Junior selection camp.
Yet, Dewar didn’t make the cut, despite being well on the radar and backing it up with production.
“I was a little bit disappointed,” Dewar said. “I thought I put a really good foot forward from the start of the season. I had a really good start and we’ve been playing well, so I thought I had a chance. But they made their decision and I wasn’t a part of it. So, it’s whatever.”
Dewar said he learned that he didn’t make the team from Twitter and text messages.
Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said he was surprised when he found out his captain wasn’t selected.
“He’s arguably one of the best players across the country,” he said. “But again, I don’t see everybody, we don’t see the OHL or the Quebec League, but I know of what he brings to a team and what he brings to a game. I can’t say too many players do what he does night in and night out with how important he is. He plays, to me, the Canadian way. He plays hard on pucks, he tracks, he blocks pucks and he’s a team-first guy.
“But it’ll probably be some motivation for him. Again, Hockey Canada, they see everybody and they have a criteria and they obviously saw something else, and that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
If Dewar would have made the final roster, he would have missed eight games, with Canada’s selection camp beginning on Dec. 10 and the tournament stretching from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.
Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson said it will be helpful for Dewar to be on Everett’s roster for the eight-game stretch, but wished Dewar would have had a chance to wear the Maple Leaf more.
“I would have really like for him to make the roster with the amount of develop he’s shown the past few years and the commitment he’s had to the game,” Davidson said. “It would have been good for him to get a camp invite.”
Williams isn’t going to worry about Dewar’s attitude. He said that was squashed quickly when he first saw Dewar in the facility on Monday and Dewar ended their conversation with, “We have a lot of hockey games to win here.”
“He’s not a player that’s going to sit here and feel sorry for himself,” Williams said.
Bronson Sharp remains on injured reserve, retroactive to Oct. 13, and hasn’t entered the concussion protocol yet, Davidson said. He has no timeline for a return.
Scherbeck finds a new home
Former Silvertips forward Nikita Scherbak (2014-2015) was claimed by the Los Angeles Kings after being put on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens.
Davis called up
Former Silvertips defenseman Kevin Davis (2013-2018) was recalled to the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles from the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies over the weekend.